“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’
But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.
And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.
All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.“
The Australian reports…
“Scott Morrison has endured an agonising interview with Sydney radio shock jock Ray Hadley during which he repeatedly refused to swear an oath on the bible over his conduct leading into this week’s leadership change.
Mr Morrison had told the Hadley program on Monday, when asked whether people were plotting against Tony Abbott: “I have got no idea, mate.”
But the Social Services Minister took offence today when asked by Hadley to swear on a bible.
Hadley: “If you look down to your right-hand side in the studio, there’s a book there.”
Morrison: “No, there’s not, actually.”
Hadley: “Well there should be a book there. one of my staff will get it for you. As a man who’s confirmed with me on many, many occasions of your staunch religious beliefs … do you understand now that I think you misled me and my listeners on Monday?”
Morrison: “Well, I didn’t, Ray.”
Hadley: “Well, there’s a bible there, will you put your right hand on it and swear on the bible?”
Morrison: “I don’t have one, mate, it’s not here and I don’t see what my faith’s got to do with it, Ray … you get to judge my policies but you don’t get to judge my faith, mate.”
In a link from Canberra, Mr Morrison used the interview on Sydney radio to accuse Mr Abbott of making a severe tactical blunder in offering him the position of deputy leader of the Liberal Party as well as treasurer at the last minute.
He suggested this undermined the Mr Abbott’s loyalty and likened the move to throwing “Joe Hockey under a bus”.
Mr Morrison continued to insist he had played no role in the demise of the former Prime Minister, but confirmed he had still not spoken to Mr Abbott since the moments immediately after the ballot on Monday night.
Denying there was any deal with Mr Turnbull, Mr Morrison said he had warned the prime minister’s office last Friday that Mr Abbott’s position was under the threat and the situation was “febrile.” He warned them to be on “high alert.”
“I can understand Ray that people in these circumstances would be very upset,” he said.
“But, at the end of the day I voted for Tony Abbott, I gave utter loyalty for the entire time I served as his minister and as his shadow minister. Everything, I did everything I could to make his government a success.
“He offered me the job of treasurer hours out from that ballot. He’d never done that before, he’d never had a discussion with me before about being his deputy leader.
“I can’t understand Ray why I was being offered that job when he had showed such strong support for Joe Hockey. He was asking me to throw Joe Hockey under a bus.”
Towards the end of the interview, Hadley again raised the prospect of Mr Morrison swearing on the bible to provide a reassurance he didn’t switch his loyalty away from Mr Abbott or undermine him.
“It would have been easier if you grabbed the bible which is still there and sworn on it,” Hadley said.
An angry Mr Morrison called Hadley’s bluff by saying he would make the oath if the radio host insisted.
“It’s not here, Ray, and I wish you’d stop injecting faith into this… If you want me to do it, I’m happy to do it. But I think it’s a bit offensive.
“Bring it in, bring it in… if that will satisfy you, then I think it’s a pretty offensive thing to do, to use people’s faith and religion in an interview like this.
“We’re mates, mate, but does step over the line… If that’s what you need then I don’t think we have the relationship that you thought we had and that I thought we had.”
Although Mr Morrison said there was no bible, The Australian understands there was one in the studio.
Hadley eventually stepped back from the request, saying he would not force Mr Morrison.
The interview was ended abruptly by the radio host, with Mr Morrison holding his usual media conference a short time later, in which he expressed his disappointment with Hadley.
He said the religious faith of politicians should not be used as “stunts to political debates”.
Asked whether he would boycott Hadley’s program, the minister suggested the incident would blow over.
“I’m sure after the dust settles and the mood’s changed and all the rest of it, if he wishes to extend me an invitation then I’m sure we’ll talk on another occasion,” he said.
“People who have had good relationships always try and work on rebuilding those relationships. That’s the sort of bloke I am and I suspect that’s the sort of bloke that Ray is. I’m a forgiving sort of person and I suspect that he is.”
Mr Morrison appeared unperturbed as he left the studio, talking to media and even stopping to take a “selfie with Lane” – a social media phenomenon in the Canberra Press Gallery in which people take selfies with the veteran Nine Network political reporter Lane Calcutt.
Asked why he did not use his influence to lobby MPs for Mr Abbott ahead of the leadership vote, Mr Morrison said he did not control votes like the unions in Labor leadership contests.
“You must be confusing me for Bill Shorten,” Mr Morrison said.
“In the Labor party and in the unions people go around strong-arming people for their votes. I don’t do that mate.”
He confirmed that he did inform colleagues that his vote would be for Mr Abbott, but said they made their own decisions about who to support.
Mr Morrison said he would work to ensure Mr Turnbull was elected at the next election. However, he said there was no offer on the table from Mr Turnbull for the Treasury portfolio.
“If he asks me to be treasurer and that’s what we do, I will have got that on merit,” he said.
“If Mr Turnbull wants to appoint Joe Hockey as Treasury, fine.”
“I have never been offered the job of Treasurer by Malcolm Turnbull. The only person who offered me that job before the ballot on Monday was Tony Abbott and I knocked it back because I didn’t think it was consistent. And I didn’t think it had been thoroughly thought through.”
Mr Morrison said that if he had accepted the Treasury portfolio offered by Mr Abbott it would have compounded the political conflict.”